Romans 10:17 KJV So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Most would immediately quote Romans 10:17 to explain how faith comes to us. It is a simple explanation with more than one interpretation. Many understand the verse to mean going to church to hear the word of God preached will give us faith. Others think reading the Bible will give faith. But Paul’s message about how faith comes encompassed more than the written and preached word of God.
What Bible did Abram read? The first five books in the Bible were written by Moses more than 400 years after Abram died. The first English version of the entire Bible that we read was published in the 1300s by John Wycliffe, more than a thousand years after Abram died. I think it is safe to say Abram’s faith did not come from reading scripture.
But God preached the gospel to Abram. Yes, he did. Yet Abram still went down to Egypt to see if they had better notions about God than he did. And God did not recognize his faith until they were outside looking at stars, ten years after he arrived in Canaan.
Jesus address the elements necessary for a testimony to be valid.
John 5:31-35 AMP (31) If I alone testify about myself, my testimony is not valid. (32) There is another [My Father] who testifies about me, and I know [without doubt] that his testimony on my behalf is true and valid. (33) You have sent [an inquiry]to John [the Baptist] and he has testified [as an eyewitness] to the truth. (34) But the testimony I received is not from man [a merely human witness]; but I say these things so that you may be saved [that is, have eternal life] (35) John was the lamp that kept on burning and shining [to show you the way], and you were willing for a while to rejoice in his light.
Jesus said his testimony about himself is not valid if he is the only one saying it. Then pointed to two more witnesses that confirmed he spoke the truth. John the Baptist (the flesh) and God (the spirit) who said “this is my beloved son” twice in an audible voice.
John 5: 39-42 AMP 39 You search and keep on searching and examining the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and yet it is those [very scriptures] that testify about me; 40 and still you are unwilling to come to me so that you may have life. 41 I do not receive glory and approval from men; 42 but I know you and recognize that you do not have the love of God in yourselves.
Jesus did not rely on human testimony to validate what he believed about himself. Jesus did not believe he was the son of God simply because John pointed to him and said, this is the Son of God. Anyone in law enforcement will tell you human witnesses are unreliable. We also have the written word of God that foretold what Jesus would do before Jesus was born. But the scriptures are not enough to impart faith in God either. Jesus said you can diligently study the scriptures and not love God. The people who rejected him were the priests, scholars, and experts in Moses law that testified about Jesus. Nicodemus acknowledged these religious leaders knew Jesus was from God.
And if testimony of Jesus, God who spoke from heaven, John the Baptist and the written word of God was not enough for people to have faith in God he pointed to a greater testimony.
John 5:36 AMP but the testimony which I have is far greater than the testimony of John; for the works that the Father has given me to finish – the very same works [that is, the miracles and proofs of my deity] that I am [now] doing – testify about me, [by providing evidence] that the Father has sent me.
Anyone can make claims, but everyone does not have proof their claims are true. A more accurate scale to weigh if the truth is spoken is what that person does. Actions speak louder than words. Jesus turned water into wine, walked on water, feed thousands with a few loaves, healed the sick, cast out devils, raised the dead, etc. Jesus relied on a “far greater testimony” than what people say. He relied on things God did through him (the miracles) to validate he is the son of God.
To have faith in God we must listen to the far greater testimony, the voice of his actions.